31 Days of Reviews: Cabin Fever – Patient Zero

I’ve never had to write a bad review before, until now..

I remember being a fan of the first Cabin Fever, so when I saw this one, I knew I had to give it a try. The end result was a mixture of confusion and disappointment. The movie started out promising, but then it started into a very drawn out downward spiral.

There are a lot of negative things I have to say about this movie, so I’ll start out with the three things that I thought were really good.

1) The opening sequence is beautiful, or at least it’s as beautiful as a movie about a flesh eating virus can be. The cinematography is great. The slow motion is majestic. The voiceover is powerful and eerie at the same time. Even without words, it conveys a compelling narrative. I liked the opening sequence so much that I actually watched it three times.

2) The make up is pretty great. There are plenty of opportunities in a movie like this where the make up can completely break it for you, but I never saw an instance of this. There’s one particular moment where a woman is asked to remove her mask and show the other characters her skin to prove that she’s sick, and when it’s shown, it is so scary good in a tremendously gross way. That’s a compliment.

3) Sean Astin is in this movie. He without a doubt gives the best performance throughout.

Now on to the negative stuff. Some of the acting is pretty bad. On top of that, some aspects of the story are hard to comprehend, which doesn’t help the bad acting out in any way. One of the main things, character wise, which didn’t click with me was the relationship between the brothers. Other than the spoken dialogue which said they were brothers, I didn’t feel like their relationship showed that they were brothers. The relationship between the two best friends seemed more like a brotherly relationship than the actual brother relationship.

As is typical with many movies, there is unnecessary objectification of female bodies. There is a scene where the camera slowly pans up the bikini-clad body of Penny, our main character’s childhood friend, as well as other bits with her that aren’t as obvious, but still notable. There is also a point where Bridgette, a glasses-wearing female scientist, goes from being completely covered with a lab coat in one scene to suddenly showing cleavage in a low cut shirt, open lab coat, glasses gone, and hair blown out like she just came from the salon. I was so taken aback by the unnecessary and obtuse change that I almost didn’t realize it was the same character.

There is a particular scene which I do find intriguing. While the movie doesn’t do great things to stop female objectification, they do show something that most movies do not: oral sex performed by a man on a woman. As I think about this though, it’s interesting to note that while the movie does show this, they still show it in a negative (and disgusting?) way. This is a movie about a flesh eating disease after all. The woman is infected with this disease. Let your imaginations wander.. or don’t.

I wasn’t very happy with the editing of this movie, the film editing itself or the sound editing. The film edits are choppy, making some shots confusing and abrupt. While this is disconcerting, the sound editing is worse. Throughout the beginning of the movie, the background noise is louder than the dialogue which caused me to have to turn my volume up higher than I would have liked. By the end of the movie, I had to turn the volume back down because the audio for the dialogue was so overblown. The background noise doesn’t even overlap between scenes. I would be in one scene on a boat with the sound of waves crashing, the sound would completely stop, then I’d be in a different location with a completely new sound. It was like watching different clips of a family vacation continuously through a camcorder with no editing having been done.

Overall, even the timeline of the film is confusing. At first you think that the scenes with Sean Astin and the scenes with the main characters are happening simultaneously. Then, things start to be shown that indicate that the scenes with Sean Astin may have been occurring much farther back in time. At the end, it’s shown that the scenes were actually happening simultaneously (or at least very close to it).

At one point, it looked like the movie was trying to go for a zombie-like approach, which was really disconcerting to see when watching a pandemic movie that has little to nothing to do with zombies. Seeing bodies that are dead and falling apart is one thing, but seeing them rise from the dead all of a sudden doesn’t make any sense in the context.

I promise the last negative thing I will say is that the scene shown during the credits would have definitely benefitted the movie as a whole if it had been shown during the feature.

Beware. Below this is a spoiler, so if you haven’t seen this movie, but intend on watching it, don’t read again until the next set of asterisks.


This last scene was being shown during the credits to provide support for the “plot twist” at the end, but I think just that fact that Sean Astin betrays the two remaining survivors is a twist enough. Seeing how the lab fell to the virus would have really helped with the timeline issues that I mentioned previously. They could have just saved the nursery rhyme about the mice and Sean Astin messing with the mouse for the plot twist. We see one of the scientists lose a mouse in the lab very early on, and I don’t know about any of you, but I knew that would be the cause of the spread.


So overall, I probably wouldn’t recommend this one. I haven’t seen the first Cabin Fever in a while, so I can’t say this with too much confidence, but from what I remember, that one is more worth the time.


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